East Timor’s Case in the ICJ: Will the Court Decide Whether Spying Violates International Law?
In December, East Timor initiated a case against Australia in the International Court of Justice. The facts are out of a Tom Clancy novel. In short, East Timor alleges that Australia bugged an East Timorese cabinet office during bilateral negotiations about an important maritime treaty (the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty) between the two countries, in order to gain intelligence about East Timorese strategy and negotiating positions. East Timor initiated arbitration against Australia, claiming that Australia’s alleged bugging during negotiations rendered the Timor Sea Treaty invalid. That arbitration is private (i.e., closed).